search
date/time
Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
frontpagebusinessartscarslifestylefamilytravelsportsscitechnaturewhatson
2:33 AM 10th September 2020

Heart Research UK Healthy Tip - Managing Stress

Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, written by Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK.

Watch your stress levels

We all experience stress from time to time. There are many things that can lead to us feeling stressed. It can come from the news, our jobs, financial insecurity, health issues and personal problems. Feeling constantly stressed and overwhelmed can lead to a rise in blood pressure and resting heart rate, both of which increase our risk of having a heart attack.
We have some tips to help you avoid unnecessary stress and deal with existing stress in a healthy way.

What is stress?

Stress is essentially when we feel threatened or under pressure and our bodies are preparing to either fight or run away from our current situation. This so-called ‘fight or flight’ response should only occur on rare occasions and it is useful for getting us out of dangerous situations. For many people stress can be more long term and persistent and this can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health.

Avoid consuming too much news

Whilst it may be important for us to stay up to date with current affairs, a constant stream of negative news reports can be a source of stress and anxiety. The World Health Organization recommends that we watch, read or listen to the news to just once or twice a day for short periods. Why not schedule a daily timeslot when you will allow yourself to check the news (e.g. 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm).

Walk your way to a healthy heart

Not only is regular physical activity good for our heart health, but it can also alleviate stress. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week, such as brisk walking. When we feel stressed, we may tell ourselves we are too busy to exercise. However, physical activity does not have to be a time-consuming chore.

Incorporating small changes to increase our daily steps can improve our overall mental and physical health. You could start by making small changes, such as parking at the furthest point away from the shop entrance in the car park, getting off the bus a stop early, or leaving your office during your lunch break to take a walk.

Breathing and meditation

Just breathe. Despite the growing attention that meditation and breathing exercises is getting, it is still one of the most underrated things you can do to ease your stress levels and lower your blood pressure. To do this all you need is 10 minutes of your day to sit and do absolutely nothing but concentrate on your breathing.

Meditation is one of the simplest and cheapest ways of reducing your stress levels and blood pressure, and there are many free guided meditation resources online to teach you how to do it.

Ask for help

Sometimes stress can feel overwhelming and you may need a little help to manage it. Try speaking to a friend, family member or a work colleague about how you feel. If you think you would benefit from professional help, you can speak to your GP.

Heart Research UK
Proud to stand out from the crowd, Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.


You can find more healthy tips, recipes and advice at heartresearch.org.uk.